Lawmakers respond: Gov. Jennifer Granholm

Also in response to our original letter about school funding, Gov. Granholm sent this call to action to everyone who supports our efforts (a PDF version of the original letter is attached below).


April 6, 2007

Ann Arbor Parents For Schools
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dear Ann Arbor Parents for Schools members:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding funding for Ann Arbor Public Schools. I have made it clear that I do not intend to slash school funding in Michigan this year and that I believe we should increase our investment in K-12 schools to keep Michigan competitive.

In recent years, Michigan’s fiscal crisis has resulted in significant cuts in state spending in virtually all areas of our budget. However, because I have made investing in K-12 education a top priority, we were able to increase funding for public schools to record levels while resolving $4 billion in budget deficits. I am convinced that this investment in our schools not only helps our children, it helps our entire state given the critical role education plays in the modern economy.

As 2007 began, we faced yet another budget crisis. The continuing decline of the auto industry has hit Michigan hard and has led to a drop in state revenues. And last year, the Michigan Legislature repealed our main business tax without replacing it with another tax. This move created a $2 billion hole in our budget and, combined with the auto industry’s woes, forces us to resolve a $3 billion dollar deficit in a matter of months.

In my State of the State address, and in the budget I submitted to the Legislature, I called for a combination of spending cuts, cost-cutting government reforms, and new revenues to bring our budget into balance. I refused to cut education funding in the school year now underway and proposed a much-needed increase in school funding for next year. To make this possible, I have proposed a package of changes in our tax system that will generate new revenues without making our state less competitive. It has been estimated it will cost most Michigan families no more than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, while it will allow us to invest in education for our kids and expanded job training for those who have seen their jobs disappear. My proposal is fair, balanced, and will keep Michigan competitive with other states. For more detailed information on my proposal, I invite you to visit my website at http://www.michigan.gov/gov.

I have asked the Legislature to put aside partisan differences to enact my budget and my proposal for changing our tax system. Unfortunately, in March 2007, the Michigan Senate approved a proposal from the majority leadership that cut funding for our K-12 schools by $34 per pupil, equaling a total of $57 million, and rejected my proposal to increase revenues to invest in education in our state. If the Senate’s action were to stand, Michigan school districts would have to make significant cuts in what they do for students with only weeks left in the school year. I am now working with the Michigan House to enact a balanced approach to resolving our budget deficit without reducing support for education. I am calling on Michigan citizens to get involved in this fight. Given your strong commitment to adequate funding for our schools, I hope you will add your voice to this debate.

Thank you for writing to me about school funding. There is no issue I face as Governor that is more important than investing in quality education for our children.

Sincerely yours,

Jennifer M. Granholm
Governor

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